There is one word that comes to my mind when I reflect on my learning about ICTs in this course so far and that is ‘why’. Why should we incorporate ICTs into our classrooms? What was so wrong with the traditional blackboard, pencil and paper method? I ask these questions not because I am against using ICTs in classrooms, but because technology was never a large part of my schooling. Even though it wasn’t that long ago, there wasn’t the broad range of ICTs available to me like there is for students nowadays. Upon completion of this course, I plan to be able to use the knowledge I gain to provide a justified answer to the questions I have raised so far in this blog.
I researched a little and came across some handy material from the English Teachers Association of NSW (which can be found here) and a snippet from Victoria’s Department of Education and Training that shows the large benefits of technology in today’s classrooms.
From these two online resources alone, I have already been able to make a list of reasons for ICT integration in classrooms and the advantages it can have, of which I am sure will grow throughout the course.
ICTs in the classroom:
- Provide students with motivation to learn. Technology can act as a stimulus for students who may not want to engage in the content if it was delivered in a traditional or repetitive way.
- Have an ability to modify learning to suit the students. With so many ICTs now accessible to students, there is bound to be one per learning experience that appropriately considers student needs and assists to successfully complete the task at hand.
- Encourages student interaction. I have witnessed students eager to share their progress and thoughts with peers during learning with ICT. From this, it is obvious that students have a sense of achievement in their school experience and this is what teachers aspire for.
- Equips students for the 21st century. The workplace is becoming increasingly reliant on technology that students now need to be knowledgeable on how to use ICTs in order to later succeed within their careers.
- Enhances opportunity for metacognition. This is really important in order to foster independent learners who are able to think critically and develop their own sense of creativity.
In response to my questions earlier in this blog, it could already be said that there was never anything ‘wrong’ with the old teaching strategies that were lacking technology. Instead, using ICTs to support pedagogy is simply better suited for students in the 21st century. For those of us who find using ICTs overwhelming, the already proven benefits are one way of encouraging us to step outside our comfort zone and hop on board. If that’s not enough of a reason, maybe it is time we face Chris Betcher’s harsh reality that “you don’t have to like it, you just have to do it”.